As Jeannette Schultz told the story of how she was reunited with her cats, Cabbie and Chaos, who had been missing for two years, Cabbie ate.
The orange cat, which lost 11 pounds during that time, continued eating as Schultz recalled how on Monday she received a phone call from Best Friends Animal Society, saying her pets were among the hundreds of sick and starving cats housed at a troubled sanctuary in Pahrump.
Thirty minutes later, as Schultz expressed her anger with the sanctuary's operator, For the Love of Cats and Kittens, FLOCK, Cabbie's head slumped in his food bowl.
"He was like a pancake," Schultz said of Cabbie, who now weighs 6 1/2 pounds and whose shoulder blades and ribs protrude when he hunches over.
"They said they had to pick him up with two hands because he couldn't walk or move his head," she said.
When officials arrived at the 2 1/2-acre Pahrump property last month, officers found 400 sick and starving cats roaming the open facility.
Schultz said her cats were obviously pets that had no reason to be kept at the facility for abandoned animals.
"Why would you take pets out there that you know people would adopt," she said. "Why did they (FLOCK) accept them? And, why weren't they scanning them?"
Schultz's two cats were identified because they had a chip with Schultz's name and address inserted beneath their skin. They were licensed and tagged.
The gray and white Chaos, though not quite himself, is thin but in much better shape than Cabbie.
Microchips have been found in more than 10 cats at the facility, said Sherry Woodard, an animal behavior consultant with Best Friends Animal Society, the Utah-based group that has taken over the facility.
She said she did not know whether FLOCK had a machine to scan the devices, but she said members of FLOCK made no effort to reunite tagged animals with their owners.
A visit to the veterinarian Monday revealed Cabbie, who is 15, has feline AIDS, heart worm, ear ticks, anemia, missing teeth and a 5 percent chance of survival.
The cat is quarantined in Schultz's bedroom. He moves slowly from the bed, where he sleeps, to the litter box, to his food bowl and back to the bed, she said.
"I'm so sad," Schultz said. "I have him back now, but I have him back maybe just to lose him."
The emaciated animal needs intravenous medication, oral vitamins, eye drops and prescription pills administered two and three times daily.
Schultz said she will have to come home from work on her lunch break for the 35-minute medication ordeal that is costing around $125 a week.
"I'm not ready to let go of him yet now that I just got him back," she said.
Best Friends offered to help Schultz, who just started a new job, by paying for the first week of the cat's treatment.
After monitoring Cabbie's response to the medication, Schultz will decide whether she can continue paying for his care.
"Even if I have to pay, I'll find the money," Schultz said. "As long as he is not in pain. Otherwise he'll just have to be pampered as he dies and put down when the pain gets bad."
Since Best Friends began caring for the cats at FLOCK's dilapidated facility, more than 20 have died from nontreatable health conditions, such as organ failure from severe starvation.
"Every day we have some victories, and every day we have some sad losses," Woodard said.
Animal-control officers took over the no-kill facility two weeks ago after being tipped off by a FLOCK volunteer. Officials have vowed to charge someone in the case with cruelty to animals.
About 20 of the 400 cats have found temporary or permanent homes. Woodard said Best Friends will stay in Pahrump until all of the cats have found another place to live.
"We won't leave any of them behind," she said.
Chaos, who disappeared six months before Cabbie, instantly recognized Schultz when she went to the facility to retrieve her cats.
As she waited for about an hour for the arrival of Cabbie, who was being cared for at a temporary foster home, Chaos sat under her chair.
"There were all these cats everywhere, and Chaos didn't move," Schultz said. "It was like he knew."
Schultz, who left the facility with a third cat, Rascal, which she adopted, plans to volunteer at the facility.
"There are a lot of cats out there that need to be adopted. They just need to be fed and loved," she said.
If anyone would like to donatate to Cabbie's medical and vet bills there is an account set up at Bank of America.
The name on the account is as follows A. J. Schultz "for Cabbie" Account # 5010-0339-2654 you will need the name and account number
Cabbie and Jeannette thank you from the bottom of their heart. Artical from the Las Vegas review Journal